RE: virus: "... faith is one of the world's great evils"

David McFadzean (
Wed, 12 Mar 1997 21:23:44 -0700

At 01:43 AM 12/03/97 -0600, anonymous wrote:

>Thank you for the URL. I read it. It was quite interesting, but I thought a little overblown. I mean the truth of one's evidence doesn't always speak to the truth of one's conclusions.

It does when the conclusion logically follow from the evidence.

>Dawkins: "And who, looking at Northern Ireland or the Middle East, can be confident that the brain virus of faith is not exceedingly dangerous?"
>Response: The existence of religious fanaticism is sufficient to prove the existence of religious fanaticism. What philosophy true or not does not have it's fanatics?

The implication was that the religious fanatics are fanatics because of their
faith. To answer your question: Pancritical rationalism has no fanatics.

>Dawkins: "I believe in the fact of evolution."
>Response: The fact of evolution proves the falsity of creation myths. How does it prove the falsity or danger of religion?

It proves that creationists believe something without, or in this case,
despite evidence.

>Dawkins: "Science is actually one of the most moral, one of the most honest disciplines around."
>Response: M. Scott Peck, M.D. wrote that dishonesty is perhaps the soul of evil. If so, then science certainly can rightly claim to have contributed mightily to the moral evolution of man. Why then did so many scientists embrace bolshevism as the proper expression of a rational and scientific society?

Is the fraction of scientists who embraced bolshevism statistically significant?
Somehow I doubt it.

>Dawkins: "[S]cientists are so often fooled by paranormal tricksters and why the debunking role is better played by professional conjurors; scientists just don't anticipate deliberate dishonesty as well."
>Response: How can this lack of anticipation be reconciled with the scientist's vaunted skepticism, or is it just of organized religion that scientists are skeptical?

Scientists are professionally skeptical of theories, not people.

>Dawkins: "Thus religions should not be allowed now to retreat."
>Response: Hmm. Sounds like tolerance to me.

Sounds like sarcasm to me. Tolerance is not the issue here.

>Dawkins: "But if consolation comes that cheap, science can weigh in with other cheap palliatives, such as pain-killing drugs, whose comfort may or may not be illusory, but they do work."
>Response: How do you explain the scientifically proven fact that prayer improves the health of suffering patients who are unaware of the prayer? Should we require that this treatment proven to be effective be stamped out, because it is practiced by people who wrongly believe creation myths?

Still waiting for substantiation of this claim.

>Dawkins: "The merest glance through a microscope at the brain of an ant or through a telescope at a long-ago galaxy of a billion worlds is enough to render poky and parochial the very psalms of praise."
>Response: Good point. Besides what is awe inspiring about shepherds anyway. Except maybe they seem to have quite a bit of empathy for their charges. And surprisingly, empathy is scientifically proven to be a great predictor of moral behavior.

I don't think anyone needs to believe falsehoods to have empathy, do you?

>Dawkins: "Science can offer a vision of life and the universe which, as I've already remarked, for humbling poetic inspiration far outclasses any of the mutually contradictory faiths and disappointingly recent traditions of the world's religions."
>Response: Religion isn't meant to offer poetic inspiration but moral inspiration.

Fine. But is it necessary to spread and believe falsehoods to accomplish that

>Dawkins: "[W]e know from the second law of thermodynamics that all complexity, all life, all laughter, all sorrow, is hell bent on leveling itself out into cold nothingness in the end."
>Response: Good point. Can we look at entropy as a model for evil? If all morality is in fact the evolutionary tendency to coalesce into complex and cooperative superorganisms for the purpose of the maximum reproduction of the common genetic legacy, then is evil merely the tendency of individual cells and organs to resist this coalescence and to push instead for simplicity, independence, and freedom from the tyranny of orderly society? Or better yet the benefit of the part at the expense of the whole?

Uhhh. no.

>Dawkins: "I believe that some familiarity with the King James version of the Bible is important."
>Response: The superior functioning of the societal superorganism depends upon maximum communicative effectiveness. A canon becomes part of the

Looks like you were cut off here.

David McFadzean       
Memetic Engineer      
Church of Virus